Volkswagen wants to put Dieselgate behind it. In doing so, the company today released a TV ad entitled "Hello Light," which hopes to convince consumers to overlook its past and embrace an electrified future – all to the tune of the Simon and Garfunkel hit song, the Sound of Silence.
The one-minute, 45-second ad (which airs in the U.S.) shows the battery-powered I.D. Buzz concept we drove in 2017. The spot, VW promises, is part of larger plan to reinvent the brand, guaranteeing "new ethics and compliance programs with real teeth," as well as "aggressively investing in electric vehicle development and production" in the wake of scandal.
Gallery: Volkswagen I.D. Buzz at Pebble Beach
These promises come with an updated brand identity. A revised, black-and-white version of the iconic VW logo and the accompanying slogan "Drive Bigger" are both scattered throughout the accompanying marketing materials. VW says the new motto represents a long-term vision for the brand as a whole, with a goal to reduce its carbon footprint by 30 percent by the year 2025.
"This campaign is for all of those we disappointed, all of those who stayed with us, those who worked like crazy to keep us moving forward and for all of those who stopped caring," said Scott Keogh, president and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. "We have a responsibility to do better, to be greater and we intend to shoulder that responsibility."
Reconfirming what we already know, VW promises a significant $50 billion investment in electric vehicle production through 2028. A massive 70 new EVs are destined in markets around the world with products like the I.D. Crozz and I.D. Roomzz in 2020, and the I.D. Buzz seen in the add. Though, the I.D. Buzz won't go on sale until at least 2021.
Volkswagen has been transforming since 2015, working to atone for the damage of the diesel matter while improving the core business, instituting new ethics and compliance programs with real teeth, and aggressively investing in electric vehicle development and production. Next the company needed to address its iconic brand. But before Volkswagen could credibly lay out a new direction, it had to take a moment to properly address what led to it.
The campaign begins with “Hello Light,” which airs tonight during Game 3 of the NBA Finals. The limited-run spot is a moment for the company to clear the air on the diesel matter, acknowledge what happened and all that it brought about. The point of the message is simple: What matters most is how you respond.
The Drive Bigger phase of the campaign begins June 11. In form, tone and copy, the advertising marks a return to the thoughtful, fun and unassuming Volkswagen ads of the 1950s and '60s. The campaign includes work that highlights VW's current fleet as well as its coming electric fleet. The work will run in print media, as well as on TV, digital and social platforms.
"This campaign is for all of those we disappointed, all of those who stayed with us, those who worked like crazy to keep us moving forward and for all of those who stopped caring," said Scott Keogh, president and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. “We have a responsibility to do better, to be greater and we intend to shoulder that responsibility."
For Volkswagen, "Drive Bigger" is more than a slogan on a web-site or a poster in a dealership. It's a long-term vision for the brand and the company, backed by bold commitments.
Drive Bigger means Volkswagen Group has set a target of global carbon neutrality across its fleet, production and administration by 2050, and embraces the goals of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. By 2025, the company intends to reduce its global carbon footprint by 30 percent.
Drive Bigger affects how Volkswagen will amplify all the good its employees and dealers do. For the dealer network, it means turning a sales event from something transactional to something powerful that benefits people in the communities in which they do business.
The Volkswagen Group has made one of the world’s largest commitments to electric vehicle production – a planned investment of more than $50 billion through 2028, with 70 new electric vehicles coming to market around the world, including next year’s planned American launch of a compact electric SUV, inspired by the Volkswagen ID. CROZZ concept car.
Drive Bigger means the company will use its platforms and resources so a nonprofit organization, America Scores, can produce and air a national TV spot during the World Cup at no cost.
The campaign debuts the creative work from New York-based Johannes Leonardo, Volkswagen of America's new lead brand agency.
“This brand platform we are launching with Volkswagen will act as a north star for the company to ultimately transform their business,” said Jan Jacobs, co-founder and CCO of Johannes Leonardo. “We’re embarking on arguably the most important chapter in the history of one of the world’s best advertisers. We are honored to be part of it.”